LOST & FOUND

It appears I have lost my words. I’m sure I’ve just left them somewhere, carelessly abandoned without thought. I’m sure I shouldn’t really panic too much, knowing they’ll turn up like an odd sock at the bottom of the wash basket, and I’m certain that it is probably a good thing they’ve chosen this moment to go missing. Why? Simply because there is everything and nothing to tell here. As usual. Too busy you see, too busy to hunt for the words myself so I’ll presume they are where I left them, even though I can’t recall where that is. So excuse me for a while until I find my words again, and if you do spot them roaming around …

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Part of the product

Last week we held a shortened Kaizen-style event in which we discussed the requirements capture part of our product lifecycle. It was an interesting couple of days which yielded a new process that we think is an improvement on the previous one. That makes it sound very simple, it certainly wasn’t, but it was a fascinating couple of days. As I’m responsible for the technical information that comes out of the development group, I had a slightly different view of things and took away some ideas to discuss with my team of writers. One of which we have discussed a little but haven’t yet pushed too hard. I think that is about to change. Going back to our requirements capture …

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Autumn Muse

The once billowing grass is gone, shorn from existence, ripped from green to dirt by savage machinery. Under dripping trees at the edge of the field stands the farmer, admiring the close crop of the land as it ripples towards the horizon across the furrows of once turned soil. Standing at the top of the hill he turns from the chilled air sweeping through the valley to survey the rest of his land. An oddly shaped patchwork this, bordered by stone and scrub as it climbs and slides across the terrain. The cool breeze dances on stalks and leaves, the beginnings of autumn burning spots of gold and red, glimpses of light through dense trees herald another cycle as the …

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UA Conference – Takeaway Thoughts

Attending a conference is a mixed bag of experiences yet regardless of your knowledge in certain areas it is always a worthwhile to meet up with your peers and discuss the various common issues, gripes, moans and solutions that we all share. I was also lucky enough to bump into some ex-colleagues and to meet some email correspondents face to face, not to mention the numerous interesting conversations I had with other delegates. Yes it’s safe to say that the value of connecting with your peers is high and entirely justified the cost of the conference. That aside there were also a couple of subtle themes that emerged during the sessions, the main one being that to enable us to …

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No read-ey, no write-y!

Dearest Reader, (Yes, that’s you) I’ll keep this as simple as I can. In my previous post I stated, quite clearly, that I would be taking “the opportunity to confirm that I will not be starting to write a novel (or even a novella)”. I realise my mixing of positive and negative actions in the same sentence may have confused your simple mind, for that I am sorry. I am certain you already have enough difficulty and confusion in your life and I apologise for rendering your simple mind asunder with my badly crafted sentence. I realise my education places me at an advantage, how quickly it is that I forget that not everyone can read whilst sitting on the …

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UA Conference Notes – Day 2

Notes and thoughts from Day 2 of the User Assistance Conference Session 1 – Juliette Fleming – XML Tagging and Search Facets An early start for an interesting session in which Juliette outlined how Oracle have introduced search Facets to their online help system. Essentially a facet is a tagged chunk of information or help topic, and their help system has been coded to make the most of these by using the tags to decide in which context the help topic should be used. This allows their help system to display information, for example, for a given product version, language, product and topic type when the user clicks to get help from the application. The facets are also used to …

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Obligatory Busyness post

As we head for another product release it is only fair that I warn you that I am stooooopidly busy over the next three weeks, and not just at work. I’ve been lucky enough to bag some web design work and have just gotten off the phone with yet another person asking for some of my time in a consultancy type role. Not quite sure when I’ll fit that in but time is money and all that, although I will need to figure out my hourly rate… perhaps if I extrapolate back from the last item of gadget lust and aim for that?? Of course, as I’ve said numerous times before, I quite enjoy being busy as it usually “raises …

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UA Conference Notes – Day 1

Notes and thoughts from Day 1 of the User Assistance Conference Session 1 – Tony Self – Emerging Help Delivery Technologies It’s been quite a while since I heard Tony speak but as ever he provided an entertaining, if somewhat limited, presentation. Covering the various types of help viewing technologies he nicely summarised some of the available choices including the features to look out for, including the ability to wrap up an online help system in its own application (using technology like Adobe AIR). It was interesting to hear some Web 2.0 features making their way into online help technologies, including voting and commenting facilities which would give you direct feedback from the people using your help system. Session 2 …

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Miscellany

Since getting my iPhone I’ve tweaked my working practises a little but, thankfully, not a lot. As most of the applications I use for my daily life (email, RSS reading, that kind of thing) are well served on the iPhone it’s been a painless transition and it’s great to have everything working, sync’d up and serving ME (unlike my previous phone which I spent far too many hours wrestling with). One thing that it has improved is my use of list/task (To Do style) based applications. I’ve never really found an application I was comfortable with but, since shifting the rest of my productivity based activities to the web and with the iPhone providing an excellent platform for such things, …

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UA Conference – Day 1

I’ll write up my thoughts in more detail but suffice to say that, as per usual, my mind is racing with a million on one possibilities. Conferences are a good thing, even if you aren’t a position to change things it’s good to talk to other people in your profession, to find out that most of your problems are things they are experiencing as well and that there are always new ideas coming along. Stand out sessions today were from Joe Welinske and Sonia Fuga. The former touched on some ideas we have already discussed at my workplace (the idea of focussing our efforts on the key topics, to the detriment of others – aka not documenting EVERYTHING), the latter …

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